Winter is around the corner. Make sure your vehicle is prepared for possible winter driving disasters.
Winter brings low visibility and treacherous roads. Combine that with young and inexperienced drivers, “road ragers” and careless drivers and you have a Canadian recipe for disaster! As a personal injury lawyer, I can tell you that the number of car accident claims leaps during the inclement weather seasons, often due to drivers being unable to slow down in time or losing control due to inadequate anticipation/preparation for poor road conditions.
Research proves that winter tires in winter conditions prevent accidents. In 2005, Germany had 12,539 personal-injury collisions. In 2008 German drivers were required to have winter tires on during the winter. Collisions in that year dropped by about 50% to 6,033. Quebec also made winter tires mandatory in 2008 (although 96% of drivers used winter tires prior to this change). Once the law was enforceable, Quebec driver winter tire use increased 2% to 98% with a corresponding larger 5% drop in collisions that year.
To understand why winter tires work in Ontario (during the winter) keep the following in mind:
- All-season tires harden at -10 C; Winter tires harden at -40 C.
- Stopping distance is 30% shorter with winter tires compared to all seasons.
- Winter tires offer up to 50% or more traction than all season tires.
Tires are designed to grab on to microscopic irregularities in pavement and when they harden, it makes it extremely hard for the tires to grip the road resulting in decreased stopping ability. Your insurance company provides a discount of 2-5% to you for using winter tires. This is based on the reduced risk to the insurer of you having an accident if you are driving with winter tires. Although winter tires are not yet mandatory, it won’t be long before that becomes the law. As a father of three sons, I insist on my children driving or being driven in cars with winter tires in Ontario winters.
Keep in mind that accidents cause injuries and loss of property, but also result in increased insurance premiums, sometimes for years after an at fault accident. An at fault accident may push a driver into high risk insurance which might double or triple an insurance premium for years. This might end up costing well over $10,000.00 in additional premiums over time!
Having a set of winter tires will also prolong the life span of your tires as the other set is being used and will help keep our roads safer. It is time to get your winter tires installed!
Other safety measures that should be taken when preparing for winter driving should include:
- Bringing your car in for a full checkup and insist on winter wiper blades;
- Keep your gas tank as full as possible to keep the car heavy and help reduce moisture in the gas line;
- Clear snow from your car before driving;
- Always have an ice-scraper and extra washer fluid in the trunk;
- Keep a booster pack or jumper cables in the car; and
- Make a survival kit for the car with
- non-perishable food
- sand or cat litter
- phone charger or charged phone
Devry Smith Frank LLP is a full service law firm with experienced lawyers in all practice areas. If you require a personal injury lawyer, please contact Personal Injury Lawyer Marc Spivak today. If you have any other questions, or would like more information please call our office directly at 416-449-1400.